Metro-East News

Second alarm structure fire burns through home in Centreville

A second-alarm fire Monday afternoon destroyed the only home L.C. Washington has ever known.

Washington, 18, rushed home to 4211 Piggott Ave. from his job at Alorton City Hall to see firefighters dousing the long, narrow structure that was spewing flames and smoke.

Church Road Fire Department Chief Duane Carpenter said the front of the home was fully engulfed when his first crew arrived shortly after 2:40 p.m. He said he radioed for more equipment and firefighters from neighboring departments, because the fire quickly spread throughout the attic of the home.

In all, firefighters from Camp Jackson, Alorton, State Park, Fairmont City, Caseyville and French Village assisted Church Road crews at the scene. The stubborn fire burned for over an hour before a French Village Fire Department aerial hose began blasting the partially-caved roof from above with huge volumes of water.

No other homes and no vehicles were damaged in the fire. Empty lots neighbor the home on both sides.

Washington said he lived in the home with his mother, his sister and his sister’s child. None of them were inside the home when the fire started, and no firefighters were injured in the firefight despite the afternoon’s oppressive heat. Washington said it was possible a burned-out electrical plug sparked the fire, but an official cause hasn’t been determined.

Firefighters as of 4:30 p.m. were dousing hot spots and preparing to enter the destroyed home to begin investigating the cause of the fire. The Red Cross was assisting the family.

Contact reporter Tobias Wall at or 618-239-2501. Follow him on Twitter: @Wall_BND.